Israeli Gov’t Prepares for More Weapons Sales in the Middle East
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on Sunday admitted that Israel had no power to prevent US sales of advanced weaponry to the Gulf states, following the news of a massive F-35 fighter jet deal between Washington and Abu Dhabi. According to Steinitz, if countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia “want it and are willing to pay, I have no doubt that, sooner or later, they’ll get” stealth jets and other arms. Israel is still grappling with the revelation of the pending deal between the US and the United Arab Emirates. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues to insist that his August denial of a report claiming he greenlit the sale as part of the UAE normalization pact remains valid. Yet Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who last week traveled to Washington to discuss the deal with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, pushed back against Netanyahu’s claims, saying the prime minister was aware of the US’s intentions to sell the planes to the UAE and gave his go-ahead without notifying the Defense Ministry or the military.